The FBI used Nintendo Switch user data to rescue a 15-year old girl. The girl has not been identified due to her age. She was abducted from her home in Virginia on August 3, 2022 and taken to Arizona by a then-28-year-old man, Ethan Roberts, who had befriended her on the internet. He had nefarious intentions with her, well beyond the kidnapping. Fortunately, Roberts was convicted and will serve a 30-year stint in Federal prison, for his crime.
Federal court records show Roberts did let the girl bring her Nintendo Switch gaming console. When she connected to the internet to watch YouTube and download a game, she dropped digital breadcrumbs.
The Switch has a feature that lets you alert gaming friends on their Switches every time you get online. It is designed to encourage group play. In this case, it may have saved the 15-year-old girl’s life. A friend saw her name appear with recent activity and alerted the authorities.
With help from Nintendo, the FBI obtained the Switch’s IP address which led them to the abductor’s apartment complex.abc15.com
If you don’t already know, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are necessary to go online. The IP address is a logical number to store the network device on the network. Think of an IP address as a “phone number,” used to connect a computer to the Internet. In addition, IP address carries a geographic location. As a result, Nintendo knew the IP address of who connected. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) knew who leased the IP address; the term for obtaining an IP address, and the address of the subscriber.
I am just happy she is now home, and the perpetrator will be behind bars. Hopefully, he does not get out early.